THE COMMITTEE ON BANKING, HOUSING, AND URBAN AFFAIRS will meet in OPEN SESSION to conduct a hearing entitled, “Examining Facebook’s Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations.” The witness will be Mr. David A. Marcus, Head of Calibra, Facebook.
Libra describes itself as: built on an open-source blockchain called the Libra Blockchain featuring its own proof-of-stake protocol. Backed by a reserve of various assets designed to give it intrinsic value, it is governed by the independent Libra Association tasked with evolving the ecosystem. Members of the Libra Association consist of geographically distributed and diverse businesses, nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions. Founding members include Mastercard, PayPal, Stripe, Visa, eBay, Facebook, Lyft, Uber, Spotify, Andreessen Horowitz, Vodafone Group, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women's World Banking and more. Facebook teams played a key role in the creation of the Libra Association and the Libra Blockchain, working with the other Founding Members. While final decision-making authority rests with the association, Facebook is expected to maintain a leadership role through 2019.
Steven Mnuchin told a press conference it could be used by "money launderers and terrorist financiers" and said it was a national security issue. He was "not comfortable" about Libra, joining President Donald Trump and the US central bank in voicing concern. Mr Mnuchin said Libra would have to convince financial regulators it has high privacy standards. He declined to comment on any regulatory timeline for Libra, but said he was "not comfortable today" about digital currency and that Facebook was a "long way away from" securing approval, Cryptocurrencies generally "have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cyber crime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs and human human trafficking," Mr Mnuchin said. Last week, Mr Trump tweeted that he was "not a fan" of cryptocurrencies, and hinted that Facebook might need a banking licence.